Everybody has that do-good friend that they look up to. It’s the kind of person that always helps others and never ceases to amaze you with their generosity. If only we could all be a little more like that. Luckily, when it comes to volunteering we can be by harnessing some key traits that make good volunteers. And while we all possess these traits to some extent, others are better at showcasing them. Here are some traits that make for great volunteers, and ways that you can embrace those traits to be the best volunteer you can be.
It’s a concept that seems simple. It can get you through a tough time, or help pull others into a better mood. A little positivity can go a long way. Dr. Barbara Fredrickson explored different effects of positivity and how it can help you achieve new heights. One of the great effects of positivity is that it can boost your creativity. So start thinking with the “glass half full” method. If you remain positive while volunteering, it will be infectious.
Not feeling positive? It might be better to take the day off. If you think you can fake it ‘til you make it, you’re probably wrong. In fact, faking positivity can be significantly detrimental to others because they can sense the insincerity in your words and actions.
Empathy is a great volunteer trait because it means that you can identify with the way other people are feeling. Whether that means you’re more aware of how other volunteers are feeling or the people that you’re helping, it means that you will be able to have a better understanding of your surroundings. If you feel that you aren’t empathetic enough, watch another person when you volunteer. Now take time to envision how you would feel if you were in their position. This simple exercise will have you being a more considerate volunteer and others will notice the difference.
These people are the ones who go out and get it done. No matter how much you want to volunteer, or how much you’ve talked about volunteering, it doesn’t matter until you go out and actually do it. You may not be an every day go-getter, but that doesn’t mean you can’t volunteer. If you would like more motivation in this department, try seeking out a friend to volunteer with. If you have somebody else volunteering with you then you’ll be more apt to motivate each other to get after the task at hand.
Every nonprofit has a common goal, which is to achieve a mission. So when it comes to a volunteer, organizations want somebody who knows how to set and achieve goals at any level. If you are lacking in this category, sit down and make a list before you volunteer. Be realistic about your goals, such as how much time you can give to an organization and what services you can offer. Organize a timeline of volunteering and how much you would like to achieve in a certain amount of time. Then, hang up the list on your fridge or somewhere that you can see it regularly. You’ll be constantly motivated to achieve those goals.
Even if you don’t have a great track record with being responsible, there is room to change your ways through volunteering. Not used to taking on responsibility? Don’t sweat it. You can always start small, and then work your way up. Coincide the amount of responsibility you take based on the list of goals that you established. You can start by being responsible for a few hours of volunteering a week and working your way up to holding great weight and responsibility at the nonprofit.